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Poster: xtifr Date: Sep 21, 2005 11:52am
Forum: etree Subject: some thoughts on band websites...

I'm a programmer, not a web designer (dammit, Jim!), but I'd like to point out some basics that a lot of bands (and the web designers they hire) seem to overlook.

First and foremost: your target audience is people with ears. Fancy graphics and animations are, well, nice, but they're only really useful for people with eyes. You're not so concerned about people with eyes. Keep in mind the huge number of people out there whose ears work perfectly well, but whose eyesight is limited or non-existent. You don't want to lock them out, do you? Plugins like Flash can really enhance your site, but should never be required to navigate the site, as they are completely useless for the vision-impaired.

Similarly, making your web site only work with Windows and IE is going to lock out millions of people who don't use Windows and/or Internet Explorer. Yes, it's a small percentage, but it's still millions of people! Find a web designer who knows how to code to web standards, NOT just IE, and it will work for everyone! It's fairly easy to test this; you can get standalone, bootable Linux CDs that won't touch your hard drive, but can be used for testing your web page, for free! These will usually come with several web browsers, including Firefox, Konqueror (which is more-or-less the same as Apple's Safari browser), and some text-mode browsers (e.g. lynx) that may give you some idea of what those visually-impaired are facing.

Keep in mind, not everybody has the same screen size. Too many sites cater to those with 800x600 screens, and make images and text that are almost too small to make out at, say, 2048x1536. Remember that those of us with big, high-resolution screens are (generally) the people with more money! :) If you follow the first couple of guidelines, this shouldn't be a problem, but it's still something to keep in mind.

While you are, obviously, trying to promote your music, you should still make music optional on your site. Not everyone wants to hear it right now! At the very least, provide an easy, obvious way to turn it off (although this doesn't help so much when you wake the kids at 2AM). Also, those visually-impaired folks (yeah, them again) may have a hard time hearing their speech synthesizers reading your web page to them if music is blaring.

Ok, that's enough of a rant for now. :)

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 22, 2005 1:11am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Everything you said is very true, but if 'I' visit a band's website that does not impress me, I usually don't stay. Being a graphic artist and maintain and build the www.somebodyscloset.com web site (where the newest version of flash is needed), I allow people with (let's be politically correct) high speed impared internet choose to use fast, easy information links, or the full blown animated flash site. I believe that a band's web site is a seperate entity and in this day and age, up and coming bands NEED a great looking site to sell their product. There are people that can't access our site, but again, I allow those people to link to Jambase, CD Baby, and a bunch of other HTML sites for information. So what I'm saying is, a web site is a chance to show off your product in a great looking package, so I wouldn't chince.

Jeff

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Poster: xtifr Date: Sep 22, 2005 2:17am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Well, first of all, I have to say, if you're judging a band on their graphical arts, rather than on their music, then I think there's something wrong with you! But aside from that, I agree fully -- there's no reason a web site can't be nice looking, or even gorgeous, and still be accessible and standards-compliant. If your web designers can't figure out how to do that, then I submit that you have hired substandard talent.

Pretty is one thing; poorly implemented is another. You don't have to sacrifice pretty to get a good implementation -- far from it!

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 22, 2005 2:50am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Again, you're true. There 'IS' something wrong with me...hehe. But really, music is one thing. I can hear a band anytime... on their site, archive... but to stay on the site and see who they are, see what they're about and such; if it is not exciting, I leave the site. I don't really want to give examples, but some bands that I LOVE, I listen to the music, but NEVER go to site and see what's going on. Ya know? I will NEVER judge a band by their site, I judge a band by their music. But that's just one aspect of having a web site. What about promos, and street team stuff, pics, video, games and shit like that. I love that stuff and if someone plays the SIMON game on www.somebodyscloset.com, they are on my site for a while... that's what I want. I hope you understand, but again... these are MY views and not what other people should live by. Make your own site for what you want.

Jeff

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Poster: xtifr Date: Sep 22, 2005 3:12am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Well, I certainly understand, because I feel the same way, except that with me, it's hard-to-navigate, awkward, poorly-implemented sites that drive me away. I really hate Flash navigation, for example, because Flash doesn't support tabbed browsers, and I absolutely depend on the ability to open up a bunch of tabs when I first start browsing a site. If I can't, I usually just go away.

Note that I don't hate Flash! I just hate Flash used for navigation! But I love well-done Flash animation in general.

The thing is, I don't think it's hard to make a site that can make us both happy! We're not talking either/or here. We're talking about two separate issues of quality, either of which can be present or absent. One is more important to you and one more important to me, but they're completely orthogonal.

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Poster: staylorrr Date: Sep 22, 2005 3:30am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

> the www.somebodyscloset.com web site (where the newest version of flash is needed)

For what it's worth, I dropped by this website last week and left as soon as I saw that. I don't mean to rain on your parade, but this is a pain in the butt, and I avoid websites with too much going on. Especially if all I'm after is tour dates, and I'm pointed to another website to get them...

S.T.

This post was modified by staylorrr on 2005-09-22 10:30:59

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Sep 22, 2005 9:39pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

if all I'm after is tour dates

Heh, speaking of tour dates, I got enough inconvenienced several years ago when one of my favorite bands changed to a too-flashy site, that I figured out the underlying Tour Dates url from their site and put the plain link onto a page I maintain. Wouldn't want to miss an upcoming show through avoidance of their site! They've since gone to a much nicer, balanced redesign.

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 23, 2005 1:27am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

I 'm not going to sit here and argue, so thank for the feedback.

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 22, 2005 5:18pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Well, you're not really pointed to another website for tour dates. If you want tour dates, you can proceed. If you have dial up... yeah, you are. I don't see anything wrong with that. I give what is needed. As for music starting before you don't want it... that's part of the animation. Many sites use it and I feel that you might have to get used to it. I'm sorry you feel that way about my site, but out of the 300 hits a day we get, I get tons of compliments, and hardly no 'bad newsers'. Thanks for the feedback, though. I respect everybody's opinions, but I need to appeal to the more of the artsy crowd: the people that want to see something new... not the same HTML site everybody else has.

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Poster: staylorrr Date: Sep 23, 2005 2:38am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

> I don't see anything wrong with that.

There's nothing wrong with anything you do. Hey, it's your job and if the band is happy then you're doing a good job - I just figured part of your job is attracting fans for the band (that's what most web designers try to do), and wanted you to know that the homepage did the opposite for me. Just 1 opinion though, although greenone sounds like he may agree.

> Many sites use it [stream music as soon as you get there] and I feel that you might have to get used to it.

Not really, it's not exactly tough to avoid those websites. When you find one that gets on your nerves, it's not difficult to remember which ones they are and never return. Imagine being at work and the guy next to you suddenly has music blaring out of his speakers and you hear him saying "shoot! where's the volume on this darn thing!" you know you aren't the only one who's annoyed by that stuff. Or imagine being at home listening to a sick jam, Jerry is just ripping away and that's all your paying attention to when he is SUDDENLY COMBINED WITH LOW BITRATE STREAMING A__blahblah__U__blahblah__D__blahblah__I__blahblah__O!!!*!*!*!*!! OH NO!! ARGH!

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffgreenone Date: Sep 23, 2005 12:30am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Well, you're not really pointed to another website for tour dates. If you want tour dates, you can proceed. If you have dial up... yeah, you are.

So you admit that you're deliberately inconveniencing what you acknowledge is an "abundance of fans [...] still using dial-up"? How is sending fans to Jambase promoting your band better than having them stay on your site? Jambase is cool and all, but information there is often incomplete at best and incorrect at worst. Don't you want your site to be 'sticky', i.e. people come there and stay there? If the first thing I see on a web site is four out of seven links that send me to other sites, that tells me someone's not really all that invested in me sticking around.

I go to band's web sites for the information they contain, not because they're artsy or cool or have (and require) the latest bells and whistles. It's about the band, not about the designer. I could understand if it were a web site for an art museum, or a web design company, but if you're turning away fans at the very first page, that's not a good thing.

As for music starting before you don't want it... that's part of the animation. Many sites use it and I feel that you might have to get used to it. I'm sorry you feel that way about my site, but out of the 300 hits a day we get, I get tons of compliments, and hardly no 'bad newsers'.

I very, very rarely give bad feedback on a site. I just stop using it altogether. People who dislike a site's design just aren't going to give feedback unless they have no other choice - i.e. if they're an enormous fan of the band, or if like someone else mentioned, they need a more accessible site because of a disability. There are bands that I'm fans of whose sites I *never* visit because they're obnoxious and crash my browser. Web surfers are lazy people, and if they can't figure something out in five seconds, their time is wasted and off they go somewhere else. So instead of signing up for a newsletter that might tell me when the band is coming to town, or that there's new merch or a new CD available, I have to find out somewhere else, or realize that I missed a show. Or worse, I never find out at all, and forget about them or lose interest completely.

I need to appeal to the more of the artsy crowd: the people that want to see something new... not the same HTML site everybody else has.

Why is this? I'm not antagonizing here, I'm genuinely curious - do you feel like the band's music, news and other information isn't enough to stand on its own, that it needs a cutting-edge web site to convince people they should stick around and become fans? There are ways of having interesting content that don't involve end users jumping through hoops just to SEE the content in the first place, in my opinion.

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Poster: staylorrr Date: Sep 22, 2005 3:28am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Oh yeah, and another pet peeve is band websites that immediately stream music to my speakers without asking if I want it. When I'm on my computer, I play music constantly and I can't stand it when suddenly my music turns into mush because it's been combined with some auto-stream from a website with too much going on... Keep it simple, and make the junk optional.

2 cents.

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Poster: benjammin420 Date: Sep 23, 2005 3:19am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Check out this band's website...

http://www.herbierock.com

Most unique and creative band site I've ever seen... Though it is challenging to get the information you most desire...

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Sep 25, 2005 7:28am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Talk about creative yet challenging, I never did get to the ending of this site to see if there was any "hard info" there that I was seeking:

Todd Rundgren: www.tr-i.com

Anyone know how long I should wait there? Or is it just a loop? Is there a shortcut?

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2005-09-25 14:28:34

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 25, 2005 8:53am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Damn! That's some serious flash. I hope people think my site is a little easier to navigate. Cool site, though.

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Poster: morst Date: Sep 25, 2005 5:32am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Sites that make noise when I load them do not usually have my attention for more time than it takes to close them. My friends had a band website made with flash that played a loud drum intro when it was first loaded. My main complaint was that the sound was too loud and had to be turned off in order to navigate the site (not to mention that I almost always listen to audio through the computer, so the website meshed badly with everything!) My second complaint is that with a flash site, I cannot bookmark the Tour Dates page (for instance) or email someone a link straight to that page.

ps- that Herbie site is SO hard to figure out, and it makes noise the moment it loads. Seems like a terrible way to introduce a concept to the average web-user, although it might be a blast of great fun for fans and friends. Personally I don't care for video games very much.

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Poster: herbierock Date: Sep 26, 2005 12:58am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

Thanks for the posts about the herbie website. True, it is a flash site, so you can't bookmark the dates page. However, when the page loads you can use the menu at the lower right corner of the site. This allows you to access each page within the website without having to drive the van around. In response to the sound, the site does start playing music right away... kind of like a car CD player. It is streaming audio, however, and you can press stop. The player is in the lower left corner.

Also, if you want a quick way to access our tour dates, you can bookmark our jambase dates or myspace.com page. Both are updated regularly. Same with our sonicbids press kit. www.sonicbids.com/herbie2.

Thanks for the comments!

Ffej
www.herbierock.com

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 25, 2005 8:56am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

About the bookmarking of flash pages... on my site (you remember, www.somebodyscloset.com) the title of the page after the web site name works...ie. for Somebody's Closet shows, the page is titled "SHOWS", so type www.somebodyscloset.com/shows and that will get you straight there. Try it on the site you're talking about. It might work for them.

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Poster: glenn Date: Sep 23, 2005 2:28am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

I second everything you say xtifr, pretty websites aren't as useful as navigable websites. A LOT of people disable flash animations because they don't like advertising, so I recommend that any band think seriosly about using it very sparingly.

Make sure your site is written in standard code, too, so it works on everyone's browser. InternetExplorer-only or Netscape-only html tricks are plain BAD.

Also, any good web designer can set up a site that doesn't need a web design expert in order to update it. Don't get stuck with having to actually hire a web designer or coder to do your site.

One of the biggest jobs on the internet is FIXING bad websites made by overzealous designers. Best solution is to build it yourself, second best is to have a friend do it for free, in a way where you can do the updates yourself.

Just my 2 cents worth.

edit: I looked at somebody's closet's site. I can tell you for sure that you are losing viewers if you make a site like that. If you're their web wizard, check the logs and look for people that load the first page and nothing more.

Remember that blind people listen to music, and that the web is a public space. If it were a building it should be wheelchair accessible, if it's a web site, it should be accessible to people with accessibility issues.

Hey, don't take my word for it, read what the worldwide web consortium has to say on accessibility:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php

web Accessibility may very soon be a legal requirement, it is already a moral responsibility.

This post was modified by glenn on 2005-09-23 09:28:45

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 23, 2005 12:10pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

"Remember that blind people listen to music, and that the web is a public space."

Ummm, well, blind people don't really go online... and how would I cater to a BLIND PERSON?? (no offence to them)

As for that link you gave, that's interesting. I'm pretty sure they mean major public sites like .gov's and banks and stuff. Good reading, though... it's interesting.

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Poster: glenn Date: Sep 23, 2005 1:10pm
Forum: etree Subject: This guy says blind people don't go online

That's just ignorant. Of course blind people go online. Anyone from the visually-impaired community want to back me up on this?

Blind people use audial browsers and screen readers, among other devices. They read text. XHTML is text. Screen readers can read it. Flash is not text. Screen readers can not read Flash. This is Web Design Fundamentals 101.

Pardon my saying so, but anyone who thinks they are a web designer and has no clue about accessibility, are flat living in the past, and didn't read this:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php
I linked you to it before, so there you go, a second chance.
Ignorance is correctable.
PS:there's nothing on somebodyscloset that can't be done without Flash, so what's the point?

This post was modified by glenn on 2005-09-23 20:10:51

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 23, 2005 3:17pm
Forum: etree Subject: signing off

I'll tell you what... I started this WHOLE posting with trying to help someone with my viewpoints on what I look for in a band's website... and this is what happened. You know what, go to my website or don't. I asked for help from people and talk about suggestions and not ONE person gave me any hints as to what they think I should do, they just put me down. So, I'm done. And I DO APPOLOGIZE TO ALL SEEING IMPARED PEOPLE. I might be ignorant (not completely knowing), but I am a musician at heart doing my own band's web design. Later all.

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 23, 2005 4:05am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

But honestly, (without argument), how hard is my site to read and navigate? You click on where it says ENTER and that's it. I don't understand how much clearer it can be. Have you seen Tool's website or Disectional.com, those are amazing works of art. If we're losing fans due to our site, I would like to change it, but I HONESTLY don't know how to dumb it down even more. SHOW mean shows, and PICS mean pictures... right? Also, I have extreme high speed. I browse at about 6.5 Mb/sec. Why do I have it? Because its the way of the future and I want to take advantage of it. There are shows on HiDef TV that regular cable watchers can't see. I don't see anyone telling them to have a regular cable show for those people. Anyways, please tell me what you would change and WHY. I've been to complicated sites and mine (in my opinion) is DEFINATELY not a complicated site. Browse and tell me details. I really DO want to know. Thanks.

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Poster: morst Date: Sep 25, 2005 5:45am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

That somebodyscloset site is very hard to read- the text size is too small for me. Flash does not support normal text resizing, can be important for people with eyesight which is not perfect. But I'm sure you know that after reading the accessability links from Glenn! Also, on the contact page the funky lettering interferes with the text itself- no wonder you don't get much negative feedback- the people with the problem can't see where to let you know!

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Poster: Somebody's Closet Date: Sep 25, 2005 8:04am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: some thoughts on band websites...

OK...OK, thanks for the feedback. I'm fixing it now. That's all I want is a little feedback to let me know what to do. I don't have EVERYBODY'S computer, so I can't see what everybody else sees and this is the only site I build. I changed just the contact and home pages. If it's good, I'll change the rest. The font is now 12pt. Check it now and let me know. Thanks for helping me.

www.somebodyscloset.com